Is Psychiatry Dying?
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 11, 2015
Imagine a world where psychiatrists disappeared? Primary care physicians took over psychotropic prescribing, doctoral and masters level clinicians did psychotherapy and mental status assessments were done by neurologists. As Prozac was born in 1988, and psychiatrists quickly reinvented themselves as “psychopharmacologists” and no longer promoted the doctor-patient relationship, and diminished the importance of a good assessment, the field has narrowed itself so much that it could disappear. There is nothing that we do that can’t be replaced by a primary care physician or a nurse practitioner because we gave up our flag carrying notion that what we do is understand the whole patient. This is what no other physician has the time or inclination to do. By shortening the standard appointment to fifteen minutes, we gave up the uniqueness of our field, the quality of relationships with patients that no other doctor has the privilege of experiencing. We leverage this relationship to have the patient help himself. This, more than medication, is the fundamental healing power that we hold. Shame on us for letting that slip through our fingers. If psychiatry does die, we have only ourselves to blame.